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date: 27 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides conceptual tools for mapping the role of humor in humanist communities. First, it sets parameters for the study, emphasizing humanist organizations’ self-definitions, a theory of humor based in current research, and atheist standup comedy as a data set to explore. Broadly, the chapter follows the International Humanist and Ethical Union’s 2002 “Amsterdam Declaration,” which sees humanism as ethical, rational, and supporting of democracy and civil rights; insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility; is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion; values artistic creativity and imagination; and is a life stance aiming at maximum possible fulfillment. Next, it investigates the role of humor in the construction of atheist identity and communities. Finally, it suggests some other ways of looking at standup comedy to rethink and expand the boundaries of what constitutes humanist humor.

Keywords: atheism, comedy, humor, humanism, religion, standup comedy

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